Q: Greg, I really enjoy your articles in Auto Roundup as they touch on so many different car subjects.
I have a 2000 Pontiac Firebird Formula with an LS1 engine that I put headers on and did a few other modifications, including an intake manifold, Hypertech chip, and throttle body.
Now, when I take it to the drags on Sunday, it wants to throw off the serpentine accessory belt and it never did this before. When this happens, I have no power steering! Can you help?
Bill, email from Washington.
A: Bill, your problem is easily cured. According to the many Internet boards that deal with GM Performance LS1 and LT1 powered cars, (1993 through 2002 Firebird and Camaro), a company called Katech Inc. in Clinton Township, Michigan has your cure.
Katech has been involved with the Corvette C5-R race program since 1997, and noticed during testing a bad spot in the rpm range where the serpentine accessory belt would want to jump off of the stock pulley.
This finding led to the origin of Katech's solid adjustable belt tensioner, which lists for just $135. After installing this tensioner on their engines, the belt problem disappeared and even though this problem was found on Katech's race engines, it is also the same case with the standard LS engines.
Check them out at www.katechengines.com or call them toll free at 1-866-528-3241. Let us know what happens.